RALEIGH, N.C. — State health officials announced Monday that they have collected enough information from the ongoing
disease investigation to identify the state fair as the source of the outbreak.
However, health officials said they have not identified a specific exhibit or concession within the State Fair.
The highly contagious E. coli bacterium lives inside of animals and can be passed to humans by eating contaminated meat or through contact with manure, animals or contaminated surfaces.
As of Monday, Nov. 8, health officials were investigating 112 cases. Thirty-five of those cases are confirmed to be E. coli. The illnesses are being reported from 28 counties across the state. Two-thirds of the cases involve children and teenagers.
While the source of the E. coli outbreak could be a petting zoo, there were at least eight venues where people could touch animals. All of those exhibit owners have been notified of the ongoing investigation.
Health officials are now working with county health departments because some of the children infected went to schools and daycares and there is concern the E. coli could spread.